Categorized | National News

Baha Mar Talks Resume

The government will engage in a new round of mediated talks with the parties involved in the Baha Mar debacle in hopes of reaching a resolution and allowing for the completion of construction and eventual opening of the long anticipated multi- billion dollar project, Prime Minister Perry Christie confirmed Tuesday.

Attorneys representing The Bahamas Government, Baha Mar, The China Export-Import Bank (EXIM) and China Construction America (CCA) returned to court on Tuesday where they supported a petition from Baha Mar to adjourn the matter so that negotiations could continue.

Following yesterday’s court proceeding, attorney for the government Damien Gomez, QC, appeared cautiously optimistic that a resolution could soon be reached.

“It is hoped that parties could put aside the vitriolic that’s been a recent feature of this and get down to resolving the issues so that we can report in seven days to his Lordship that we are making good progress or that we have reached a settlement,” the attorney said.

There was no shortage of attorneys in the courtroom yesterday as counsels for various Baha Mar creditors were present to observe the proceedings with many of them considering whether they will join in on a potential lawsuit against the resort.

Baha Mar caught its creditors and the government off guard last week when the company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in a United States court.

But in a move to protect Bahamian interests, the government blocked a move by the company that sought to have the orders of the US court recognised here.

Since then the government and Baha Mar have traded barbs and the relationship between the two has soured. But yesterday in a statement in response to this latest adjournment, Prime Minister Christie called for cooler and calmer heads to prevail.

“There is no question that the best thing for the country and for the Bahamian people is for Baha Mar to open successfully and swiftly, so that we can all benefit from the economic activity and jobs that it will contribute to our country,” Mr. Christie said.

“For this reason, the government supported the adjournment petition brought forth by Baha Mar today during the Supreme Court proceedings, but with one singular condition: that all parties reconvene negotiations on an urgent basis and develop a way forward that would see construction resume immediately.”

Mr. Christie also confirmed that he has accepted a request to serve as mediator of a new round of negotiations.

“It has always been in the best interest of all involved to negotiate a solution outside of the courts, which is what the government has been supporting over the last several weeks,” the prime minister said. “Despite the happenings of the past eight days, I have accepted the request by all parties to mediate continued negotiation sessions.

“I have just been informed that China State Construction as well as China Export-Import Bank have agreed to participate in mediated negotiations. I have set a date of this weekend for this to occur at a location agreeable to all parties. I exhort Baha Mar to agree immediately to the same and I await the developer’s confirmation.

Mr. Christie encouraged the parties to put aside “the antics of the past several days and meet with a clean slate and with cool heads.”

The meetings, the prime minister said, must result in an intact and formally signed agreement on an action plan for the completion of the project, similar to the agreement discussed prior to Baha Mar filing for Chapter 11.

Mr. Christie added that he remains neutral in these negotiations explaining that he is not on the side of Baha Mar, its contractor nor lender.

“The government is, and as Prime Minister, I am firmly on the side of the Bahamian people,” he said. “And the Bahamian people deserve a swift resolution to this matter.”

The parties will return to court on July 20. However, a status hearing in the judge’s chambers is scheduled for July 14.

The matter is being heard before Justice Ian Winder.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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